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Cargoes Under Sail - The Green Transport Revolution

Eco trading under sail, where you deliver cargoes without resorting to fossil fuels, not only sharpens your sailing skills, it creates an active holiday with a feel good factor. Sailing Lugger Grayhound is Britain’s first registered vessel to provide a regular cargo runs under sail between the West Country and Brittany.

Her routes now include a regular 'Muscadet Run' from Loire Valley Vineyards, delivering French organic wine and champagne to small businesses in the Isles of Scilly and coastal hopping the Cornwall and Devon coast with trading goods to and from brewers, restaurants, farm shops and waterside cafes.

This fast 108ft lugger is a replica of an 18th Century privateer that was originally built to chase smugglers but now brings home the goods legitimately and with great panache. Be part of a growing 'Green Transport Revolution', meet inspiring people on both sides of the Channel who are making a difference in the world.

Inspire me more

Eco Trading Under Sail

There is a growing fleet of sailing ships around the world providing an alternative and more environmentally friendly way of delivering cargoes. The commercially viable routes that work best follow a very similar pattern to trade wind routes and coastal trade patterns of the 18th and 19th Century. The cargoes at the moment are small but do not under estimate their potential to shape the future. Serious design time is being put into designing full sized modern cargo ships that can harness the wind and reduce fossil fuel use and air pollution.

Grayhound has featured on the front cover of sailing magazines like Chasse Marie and Classic Sailor and National Newspapers in UK and France.

Whisky and rum aging in oak barrels on the deck of Grayhound
Whisky and rum aging in oak barrels on the deck of Grayhound

Cargo & Charter - A Wooden Ship Working Hard for its Living

So why pay to be cargo crew during your hard earned vacation? Firstly we should point out that Grayhound has a hybrid life with a sailing programme that features adventurer charter holidays in Brittany, family messing about in boats voyages to the Isles of Scilly as well as her sail cargo voyages. She is the darling of festivals like Looe Luggers, Falmouth Classics or Douarnenez Temps Fete and her two co-founders Marcus and Freya really knows how to look after their guest crews. The meals feature organic and local produce, colourful salads and great conversation. Unloading cargoes is very tiny part of the collective activity on board. There are experienced and trainee deckhands learning their trade under the guidance of skipper Marcus. Having a cargo to deliver means its a great cultural experience where you really get to meet locals in port and play a part in their business hopes and dreams.

If you don't believe us when we say 7 days on Grayhound will inspire and revitalise you, then read some of her customer comments.

Grayhound Customer Comments


All the cargo is in small boxes which are not heavy for all ages to lift
All the cargo is in small boxes which are not heavy for all ages to lift

Pure Sailing is the Thing!

Sustainable Shipping on Grayhound offers you a unique experience to sail on a traditional 18th Century Lugger, delivering up to 4.5 tonnes of organic French wine and West Country ale under sail to and fro across the Channel every summer. As working guest crew you will be hand loading the boxes right into the hold. Becoming a 18th century cargo crew is a fun working holiday, you will be busy and expected to join in many tasks like traditional ship maintenance, splicing and deck scrubbing as well as sailing the ship and loading the cargo. You do not need to have stepped on a ship before or have any sailing experience. You will need to have a good level of fitness, be keen to muck in and learn new skills. If what you are looking for is genuine adventure then you will like what we are offering. Sailing sustainable cargo reduces damage to the environment and is a rewarding and exciting movement happening right now.

The beauty of three masted luggers - a very unusual rig in the 21st century
The beauty of three masted luggers - a very unusual rig in the 21st century. Photo Virginia Spencer

A greener way of transporting cargo

The Grayhound sails two cross-channel cargo routes. The ‘Muscadet’ Route and the ‘Johnny Route’. The Muscadet route refers to the wine region in Nantes, where we annually  load locally grown wine. This route starts from Falmouth during the annual Falmouth Classic regatta, where we load Cornish organic ale aboard. After a sail south via Douarnenez we sail up the river Loire to collect the Muscadet cargo.

The ‘Johnny’ route refers to the Onion Johnnies, who were Breton farmers and agricultural laborers on bicycles who sold distinctive pink onions door to door in Great Britain. The Johnny  route starts in Brixham or Falmouth and sails to Douarnenez to unload the ale and pick up organic wine from the Bordeaux and Muscadet regions which are stored in the warehouse in Douarnenez. We return to deliver the wines to restaurants and shops in Devon & Cornwall via Dartmouth, Plymouth and Falmouth.

A good wind is not always a sunny blast. You have to take the rough with the smooth.
A good wind is not always a sunny blast. You have to take the rough with the smooth.

Every Wine Bottle Carries Proof of Your Carbon Footprint

When the wine purchasers are proudly showing off the bottle of wine you have helped to deliver, your sailing route may be the topic of dinner conversation. Each Grayhound delivered bottle is labelled and the purchaser (or you if you have bought some wine to take home) can check if you managed to deliver it totally under sail. Grayhound does have an engine, but the challenge for all the crew is make your cargo run as close to zero carbon as possible and lead by example in saving the planet from climate change.

Grayhound works with Trans Oceanic Wind Transport (TOWT). You may get to meet the founders of this visionary Breton company - Diana and Guillaume Le Grand on the the quayside in Douarnenez when it is time to unload, or whilst tasting their products at the waterside shop.   Together TOWT and Grayhound run a regular and credible cargo service seven months of the year between the South West of the UK and France. TOWT organizes all aspects of the cargo itself and then we deliver it under sail using as minimal engine hours as possible. Each product we carry has a coded label which one can track to see where, how and who sailed it.

each bottle in a cargo run has a serial number and image of the ship that carried it
each bottle in a cargo run has a serial number and image of the ship that carried it


Earn Your Eco Warrior Credentials and Save Money

The cargo voyages are available for 7 nights onboard , with a full- time cook and professional crew. Cargo crew can get off or join in Douarnenez , the Brittany ferry service is a useful way to connect your trip either way or why not sail back with us and do the whole 14 night round trip? Booking the voyage there and back saves your ferry costs and there is a discount for booking two voyages.  A wine tasting and a visit to the Douarnenez maritime museum is also included in the price of a cargo voyage.

Adult Career Break or GAP Year Student  - Something for your CV

If you are looking for a career in renewable energy or sustainable transport, want to learn about sail cargo, small catering businesses, wine making or a whole range of related enterprises, a voyage or two on Grayhound would look great on your CV and help you stand out from the crowd.

The ship also has a longer trainee placement of 4 voyages at the end of each season at a reduced price.

My passage with you was inspiring, thought provoking, and just basically wonderful. You have created a great ship and a great business, and I know enough of boats and of people to be very respectful of what you have achieved. ……I particularly loved observing the way in which you and the ship worked to build the confidence and skill of the crew, and at all sorts of levels. The joy of a craft like Grayhound is that there is diversity and variety in the work, which enables the community who work her to find various kinds of interaction, and various kinds of reward. It’s how work should be. The relevance of what you are doing is not lost on me, and in this mad century you have a healing vision…….

Duncan Curtis cargo crew April 2017 Douarnenez - Falmouth

Grayhound Watch leader Jasper Troje Tuck is a fine marine photographer
Grayhound Watch leader Jasper Troje Tuck is a fine marine photographer



Sailing experiences you might like
Recommended vessels and why

Sailing Lugger Grayhound is our green champion in the sailing cargo world and currently the only ship in the classic Sailing Fleet running regular cargoes between ports. Classic Sailing has been her booking agent and supporter since before she was launched. We helped raise a crowd of 2000 well wishers when she was launched at Millbrook in Cornwall in 2012. Her first season was as ambitious as her current mission. She offered an Atlantic Circuit to the Azores, Caribbean and back, sailing with their young son Malachi. He was only 3 when he crossed the Atlantic on Grayhound and still sails on her in his school holidays. 

Read more About Grayhound, her build project, launch, professional crew profiles, accommodation etc.

Grayhound the Vessel


Some of the other traditional sailing vessels we work with occasionally carry a promotional cargo. Irene has transported gig boats to Scilly as deck cargo and a hold cargo to Brazil. If you have a cargo that you would like transported under sail for publicity purposes or you would like to order or send goods via Grayhound then we can put you in contact with the right people.

We hope to work with other sailing cargo ships in the future. One exciting project we are supporting is the building of Ceiba in Costa Rica. She is aiming to start offering sailing programmes to supply Carbon Negative Freight in 2021.

Ceiba Build Project Website - Sailing Cargo Inc

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